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tv   Book Discussion on Empire of Mud  CSPAN  January 24, 2015 8:00pm-8:49pm EST

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[inaudible conversations] >> hi everybody. this is much too tall for me. anyway, thank you so much for coming this evening. before we get started a few housekeeping points. if you take the time now to turn off for silencer cell phones but
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if you don't cannot be you don't turn up your phone then i ask you to follow up on facebook and twitter and instagram. if you haven't already please take a minute and sign up for our e-mail newsletter. as promised we will not spam you and you can find out about the great offensive things we have going on in the story. pick up one of our events calendar. we have postcards and above that if you could grab one of those and come back and see us again. thank you again so much for coming. my name is sarah and on behalf of the entire staff i'm happy to welcome you. i'm so pleased to welcome j.d. dickey for his new book "empire of mud" the secret history of washington d.c.. "empire of mud" unearthed and untangles the root of our capital story and explores how the city was tainted from the outset. from becoming the proud citadel of the public the george washington envisioned more than two centuries ago. j.d. and i were talking about his background which is really fascinating. he is the author of the rough
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side to washington d.c. and washington d.c.'s direction as well as a contributor to the last symbol to the dan brown book and at the daily telegraph and creative content for sites such as feed by the travel and voip magazine. if you didn't know we have recently started as of this program over the summer. this is our second season of events and it's really fun to get to plan an event for this program let me tell you to get to start from scratch and see what kind of books come along and what you want to put on the calendar. when j.d. e-mailed me about wow this would be perfect book for kramerbooks, the perfect book for programs i'm so glad that j.d. is here. please join me in welcoming him. [applause] >> thank you. it's a pleasure to be here. i want to thank kramerbooks in the city of washington d.c. for
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allowing me to speak about my book pre-washington is actually one of my favorite cities despite what you may think about the book. i didn't come here to bury the city. i came here to praise and part of that is because i started writing about it about 10 years ago so they are travel books that are mentioned. it's interesting how "empire of mud" had its genesis here because i found myself finding research t didn't fit into the conventional categories of what you are supposed to talk about in a travel book and i started reading about all kinds of dark chapters and disturbing aspects to the city. i kept the stories and eventually molded them into this book that became "empire of mud." in order to discuss a little bit about whaty was liked and i want to take you on a journey, a mental journey if you will abort it was like to come from baltimore to washington d.c. specifically washington
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city where the capital capital was in the 1820s. imagine as thomas twining describes and travels of america that you are in a stagecoach. this isn't the masterpiece theatre type a stagecoach. there are refined people having tea inside. you are in suffocating wooden box pressed t-2 jaw against people you would rather avoid. there is no window for light or air it smells bad and were going over some deeply-rooted for rows in the ground. imagine there is a window and in the spa we are headed toward the capital which we have heard so much about. it's a proud citadel of the republic they got its independence in 1783 from the british after the treaty of paris and there has been much written about this place. so what you would first see our pasture land spreading out eventually becoming tobacco farms that are falling into disrepair.
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in the distance you might see a few collapsing houses some abandoned buildings which actually aren't that old and foundations that have not been followed up upon and some shocks along with a few plantations in the distance. there is also the capital in the white house, a beautiful gem of architectural construction which are praise during their time and even today for being unusually magnificent and especially the grandest buildings in north america. so you get out of your carriage in the first thing you'll do is fall into mud to the depths of your needs. it's deep, it's sodden or dusty depending on the season in the become coded in this muck, this mire of the capital. there's not much to see really. there are few buildings that are falling apart. their underdeveloped buildings in the distance. there is the capitol and the white house but really it's a rather unimpressive start.
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the roads especially pennsylvania avenue are huge up to 160 feet wide. the mud froze or deep enough that you can't cross the road on foot. you take a carriage going in various directions do that and they are wet. this is the center of a huge drainage basin so the creek comes from north of the city and makes everything wet along with the privies which sometimes overflow and alongside as the washington city smell which is intended as a vehicle for commerce and it's actually an open sewer. it only draws 3 feet of water so it's kind of massive as well. this is the center of the capital. and to add to the blurred there are cows and pigs wandering in the streets as well as outbreaks of things like malaria and yellow fever that are usually more prone to countries around the equator than something in
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the capital capital of the united states of america. along with all this street is lacking commerce, anything outside of government. so how did we get here? how is it that within 30 years this great city emerged? what pierre l'enfant called a mere contemptible hamlet after its design was never realized. part of it is in the genesis of the city itself in the recent existed in the first place. and in 1783 as mentioned before the treaty of paris was signed there was a rebellion of troops the pennsylvania militia against the philadelphia state house and that resulted in the removal of congress from the same building where the congress of the confederation was moving to another place. alexander hamilton later secretary of the treasury converted this episode into a thread of federal government and the dangers of the modern mutiny and demanded that if a federal capital was to be created that
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the government, the congress must have exclusive authority on its turf which basically meant that people would be subject to congress and couldn't vote in things like that. so this was realized in the constitution which gives congress the exclusive authority for this matter. in 1790 the president had the right to look into the city and he did so 11 miles upstream from his plantation in mt. vernon and the next year in 1791 peter charles l'enfant presents his famous survey map of the city. the roads are laid out in radio fashion similar to imperial france and at the same time there are plans for parks and fountains and gardens and everything else everything you can imagine that a modern lovely city would have. but this never realized ultimately for reasons that will be described but it creates a pretty good effect.
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as a symbol of what has become l'enfant inspired not soon after he presents this map so it got on the wrong people's nerves and yet to go. but it was follow the by andrew ellicott and from 1800 to 1802 the city becomes the capital of the united states and congress organizing the constituent parts of the city and over the next year including maps it will be five components. the district of columbia the diamond of the atomic which is 100 square miles huge for city of any kind a capital which is washington city which is basically everything south of florida avenue on the shoreline of the potomac and anacostia river known then as the eastern branch. beyond that what was formerly maryland washington county and georgetown and then on the virginia side of the river the old city of alexandria and alexandra county.
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so this is the city that they have created. there is local government. locals cannot vote for their national leaders but they can vote for local ones. city council for the mayor but the problem is in the city actually starts developing it turns out that there are a few stipulations that aren't exactly friendly to local governments. taxation takes the local government that but does not apply to federal property which is the only thing worth anything. it's a tough burden if you were a small merchants struggling homeowner or anything like that because eventually because of lack of funding for local governments forced to raise the taxes to the highest in the country which is amazing for a city that at the outset only had 8000 people and only grows by about 1000 people year after that. so long was struggling in that way also struggled politically. you have to remember is washington city is a great
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federal project of the federalists. alexander hamilton the president, george washington and others of their persuasion who want a strong imperial federal government at the center of the country. and they plan it out. they create a plan for this and eventually it's developed slowly and by 1800 the government moves in. but it's inconvenient that the same year 1800 is on the famous election occurs in which thomas jefferson replaces john adams and becomes the first jeffersonian later national republican also known as democratic president of the united states and that party rules for more than 60 years and they don't have a very firm opinion of washington city. in fact washington city disintegrated in their view because what's the use of
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federal power when it's all about states rights and implication labor which states rights support at the time so they underfund the city. it's a direct political choice to underfund the capital of the united states for political and budgetary reasons and that's why there are so many problems with the city at the outset. you have the underfunding combined with congress existing and is walled off enclave. a lot of the problems they can't see. they are in another city. they have their own barbershops. they have their own clothiers restaurants and bars and they exist in their own areas with their own parting -- boarding houses a lot of this is simply don't see. the locals can't do anything to change it because they can't vote for the people who rules so the city gets worse and there are possible repercussions. compared to cities like baltimore the comparison is not a happy one. two steps in to fill this void.
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we have the city that is struggling in so many ways. struggling physically. struggling economically and it's struggling social in a lot of different ways so what we see it we see at first his private interest developers coming to the floor and trying to make some effort in order to effect some economic growth. so initially property developers end up speculating on capitol hill which is the center where the city is intended to be be. pure l'enfant has always imagined that is being the place that is a pedestal awaiting a monument and yet because of the greed of the in original property owners a property bubble develops and not much gets built. in fact some people like the bernie madoff of the 18th century guy named james greenlee step then and decided to make a handsome showing off a people's interest in the property market.
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he cripples the development of what was intended to be downtown on capitol hill so downtown is the northwest along pennsylvania avenue in that low-lying drainage basin that we talked about earlier. basements flood and the general tenor and tone of the society is not a pleasing one. and so you have the scenario of private interest taking over causing problems and people increasingly desperate to find a means of economic salvation for the city. so they think they find one in the form of building. now this is probably one of the less well-known aspects of the city or the fact that constitution avenue was once a canal, the washington city canal and also doubled as an open sewer. the original idea was that trade would get carried along here
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from georgetown along cities lining the southern areas of downtown. up to the capital and continuing south to where national stadium is roughly. the problem with this idea as i mentioned before there's 3 feet of water near stagnant and it's prone to the output of privies say can imagine it's pretty nasty. the government wasn't too heavily involved in that debacle but it decides to after the erie canal in the 1820s. the erie canal is one of the great public works investments in the country. it basically creates new york city as we now know it. new york city is able to tap into the trade of the great lakes in the interior west and become an important financial center for the country. why doesn't that happen here too too? people get very excited in 1828
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with the devising of the canal the chesapeake and ohio which is in washington d.c. all the way to the west in the ohio river. it's a great speculative gamble and people were very excited about it. you can actually walk on the canal canal today. i don't know if any of you have wandered over there through georgetown were further out. it was 184 miles per it's quite beautiful. it was saved from development and it said jim. it also nearly bankrupted the city of washington d.c. and cause public buildings to be sold to dutch bankers in 1835. it was such a financial boondoggle that the government took the rare step bailing out a private corporation backed by the municipal bonds public entity and save the city from ruin. by that time ruined at already affected the city by the 1830s. canals were the answer either.
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people increasingly look for an answer because really from the government's perspective what you have is some means of employment terms of people catering to congress and things like that as well as the building of ships in the navy yard which is a flourishing business and had a small community of people around them that were gathered. the same time there was no legitimate industry. given there was not a legitimate one the industry sprung up in their place and with those washington cities became famous and notorious. now at first i would quote william lloyd garrison two on january 1, 1831 the inaugural issue of the liberator said the capital is rotten with plague that it scarcely is spot on earth. he wasn't talking about cholera. he wasn't talking about yellow fever. he was talking about the slave
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industry. slavery in terms of slave trading, slave auctioning and all the other businesses that went along with it. it's if you have seen the film 12 years a slave you know that his biography contained this information was kept in washington city in the capital within sight of the congressional building. he remarks on the strange paradoxes of that. this country built on liberty should have him on his way to plantation in the south could he was kidnapped. he was a free citizen and his story is not unique. in fact it's similar to a lot of other people stories and people that were shipped over directly from africa to alexandria which was not a major slave trading port in the united states. what we find in this era is slavery is fundamentally embedded in the economy in washington city and the district
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of columbia general. slave auctions, slave gangs being dragged through the streets and other aspects of the trade which are open and even people visiting washington city inn hotels have advertisements of slaves being able to be chained in the basement of where they are staying. and so it's a transnational phenomenon that doesn't just deal with the south in the plantations and all the things we see in the movie but it combines new york with trading places like those in washington city with england and as such the only way to eradicate it is through civil war. so that's one of the illicit industries in town. another is prostitution was as rampant. there a lot of boarding cities a lot of fees have brothels. there is a trade-in selling sex for money and all manner of
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brothels scattered to the city. it's technically illegal to but not enforced and in fact many brothels prop up in downtown and other places including the elite ones. the book describes how maryanne hall is one of them. she operates a quote unquote upper 10 brothel which conveniently seems to be on capitol hill. the place where one can dine on fancy cuts of meat and enjoy a smoke and participate in a salon salon. there are all manner of other brothels which are lower rents and dangerous and particularly dangerous parts of town. one of the most dangerous parts of town is the center of downtown south of pennsylvania avenue which is known later as hookers position or even worse murder bay. so it's a place where crime and other activities take place
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prostitution and slave trading and it's also in terms of gambling they are gambling halls and illicit enterprises. pick pocketing as rampant and it's conveniently located between the capitol and the white house. so right in the center of town you have what is basically a slum and it's not a place that pierre l'enfant intended. instead what it is a place where all of the illicit industries can grow up and give washington city and economic lifeline even though it's not a pretty one. in the absence of legitimate enterprises, illegitimate ones prosper. not surprisingly along with this crime and violence. washington city is one of the most violent cities at the time and certainly of any capital in the country. its manifest in all kinds of ways. now the elite prefer their violence in the form of dueling so if for example an esteemed
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gentleman should challenge your honor he would challenge you to a dual and you might meet in maryland and exchange a volley of gunfire and if one of you are both walk away at social relations can be courteously restored. if either of you have lost an arm and this form of the honor code which derives from the cavalier society of the upper south is quite endemic in the city and it also comes in other forms. the middle class or the working class might choose their form of the duel with weapons like hatchets or pistols or things like that and the climate of violence is such that it's actually socially acceptable in the city to do all manner of things that we couldn't imagine doing today. for example in the 1830s which
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is the time of desperate mob violence that affects all aspects of the country but particularly washington city sam houston who at this point is from tennessee, not texas, he comes to town and defines one of his enemies strolling in the streets. he beaten viciously with a cane and a man winds up in hospital the hospital and nearly dies and for that a penalty of $500 because it's socially acceptable to be an inferior with your cane. most famously this occurs in the 18 50's when you have the case of charles sumner, a senator being beaten on the floor of the senate with a cane by preston brooks a congressman from south carolina. sumner nearly dies and becomes an event that precipitates the world war. in terms of inaction beating someone with a cane was the mark of a higher order imposing a
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lower order in such an action is typical for washington city. we find this is not unusual in any way and there's violence in all aspects of the culture from the bloodsport including things like and bear baiting and this climate of violence in terms of mobs and riots that usually break out. no matter what the initial cause is the ultimate victims of these rights and of being african-american or ultimately attacked in their homes, their churches and their schools and in their different societies. african-american brothels and taverns are not usually attacked but those that cater to the uplifted people are. this is difficult throughout the 1830s and afterward and it's another notorious legacy of this era. so what we find is in the city where legitimate businesses failing and illegitimate or illicit businesses growing up alongside it and in the shadow
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of violence the city is having a difficult time establishing a momentum. so the population growth is rather slow as you can imagine. you have about a thousand people in 1800 rising to 75,000 people by 1860. it's a very slow growth however with dramatic change with the coming of the civil war in 1861 in which the city doubles or even triples depending on the numbers that you believe with the arrival of military conflict. the civil war has been remarked upon many times given washington city is not remotely ready for conflict of this kind. infrastructure is not ready. there is nothing in fact in the capital that makes it particularly functional or admirable as a place to house many troops but nonetheless many things changed and many things have to change because they border at the upper south is literally across the river. alexandria and alexandra county are given back to virginia in
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1846 which puts the confederacy at the doorstep of the union so subsequently abraham lincoln perhaps for understandable reasons although the historians are still debating it turns washington city into a police state. and a police state that has a lot of spies run by people like lafayette and baker and allen pinkerton. as has prisons including a prison across the street directly from the capital called the old capitol person which obviously used to be the site of the capital itself after the capital was birthed by the british in 1813. the old brick capitol, the old capital prison has a number of spies and provocateurs housed in it. often because of spies, someone informing on someone else and is well what do you find at the time is a huge military traffic coming in so churches are being ferried into the town livestock
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as well. washington monument which was incomplete at that time becomes grounds for military livestock military cattle and the slaughterhouses nearby. the mall in the center of town becomes home to a lot of rampaging cows and pigs and other animals designed for military use. so you have this setting where the city is breaking down fundamentally and hopefully to be rebuilt after the war. when you come to washington city in the 1860s is very different than when you come in 1820s. it is a hive of activity so unlike a few random buildings falling apart and a few people scattered here or there a friend of activity what instead you find is a hive of activity in terms of the hospitals which now exist in churches churches and they exist and temperance halls and former hotels and they are catering to the ones of many soldiers that are coming back from the virginia battlefield.
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also military personnel are housed at various camps in the city like camp barker and other places that are designed for the support of the military needs and you see there's a very dramatic social change. a lot of this has to do with the fact that the old system were in washington city the great man market of the nation that was home to slave auction in slave trading is now according to some become becoming the capital of abolition are you not only is it a focal point of the underground railroad but also at the same time is becoming a destination for contraband. these are slaves to come north in order to find their freedom and they find it in washington city. they're not sent back. the people that are sent back i are actually the exiled former leaders of the city and the in the southern gentry her accused of being spies and kicked out or
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jailed if they don't take loyalty to the union. so what you find at this time is the real ferment a change enduring 1862 the emancipation act occurs which is the first time anywhere and in a part of the country were in emancipation occurs through compensation of slaveholders. people were particularly pleased about this and think it's a raw deal to award slaveowners were basically a gift for holding human property. but nonetheless it happens that maryls -- slavery in the city and a few years later slavery will be officially wiped out before it is in the rest of the country in general. so the war alters the fabric of the city but it also increases a lot of the troubles for the city in terms of basic infrastructure, housing needs, the functioning of the city. the crime rate explodes despite the rise in metropolitan police
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in 1862 which is the capital's first active police force and effective in enforcing law and order. there so many effective means of law and order they often entangle each other. they're the national spies in the military pro-was guards and they metropolitan police police. their constables left over from mill basin all have overlapping lines of authority in this city that has so much grind that some people describe it as the worst in arizona. this is the city that the residents are left with. by the conclusion of the war in 1865 this is the empire of mud at its worst. this is the point when anthony trollope calls the city the empire came mud during the civil war area in which the book takes its title. how did you get from his point? the worst possible point over washington city was to the modern era and it begins in the
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next 15 years or so. it changed slowly starts starts happening in one of the most important aspects of the change is the fact that african-americans are finally given the right to vote. now this occurs by the end of the war and it's important and controversial but essential because what happens is not only is a human right by an late knowledge but at the same time the republican party suddenly has a whole new block of voters who didn't vote for it. a lot of the old southern elite in virginia and points out african-american voters are an essential bulwark of the new american city. people are ready to take advantage of them. one man who does that is a former pipefitter named alexander shepard. now those who know a bit about washington history now that shepard is the boss. he is called the boss in the 1870s were a lot of reasons to
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read one of the main reason is because he's successful at accruing power and he knows a lot of people in town and he knows how to project a true patronizing and means that are essential. it's also quite intelligent about knowing what the city needs. this city needs a lot of things and the men can read reports. a lot of the reports generated by the army corps of engineers which although it sounds boring that the army corps of engineers would do a study so much of what modern washington d.c. is is based on what they did in 1860 in 1870 in terms of reimagining the city. this is no longer going to be a desperate place of sodden roads roads and ungraded avenues and things like that. instead what they bring our steep -- street grading and public plantings for improving the parks and reservations and also imagining the city with a
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better water supply, filling in the potomac which is eventually breeding ground for mosquitoes at the western part of the mall and all manner of other public improvements. one of the members of the corps of engineers nathaniel meckler has a report for moving a president from his house which is in a low-lying ground prone to water pollution up to meridian hill near what is now malcolm x park. the president is going to reside up there and hold court over the rest of the city in the nation. ultimately never happened but it shows how farsighted their designs were an brilliant in a lot of ways. one of the greatest was montgomery migs, amanda should be much more celebrated than he is a not to belabor the point that what he did within the course course of 15 years is reengineered the design of the capital to help build the capitol dome create the washington aqueduct which provided washington's first reliable source of freshwater
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quartermaster general of being an army despite union troops with all mental -- all manner provision created at the national cemetery on the grounds of a former state and later attention building which is now a national building and hovers above us in victorian splendor. one of the things he did at the time that seems like it would not be as important but is most critical as he went to europe on vacation and there he looked at the sidewalks. he looked at the plantings. he looked at the landscaping and a buddy found really impressed him. he wrote it all in this journal because he was a renaissance man. he came up with all manner of ideas for improving the city and created a report presenting it to congress and other people like nathaniel meckler and oral babcock and took these ideas to heart. eventually so did alexander shepard and shepard excommunicated a lot of them giving total power of the city in 1870s and executed these
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plans to re-create the roads and improve the water supply in the parks and everything else we associate him with. the reason he became so powerful is because the district of columbia became the territory of the district of columbia from 1871 to 1974. during this time shepard was all-powerful from his post as the vice chair of the public works in which he could hand out public patronage and other favors and eventually by the end of his tenure was the governor of the territory. in many ways he was the right-hand man. ulysses s. grant and others who were promoting power but at the same time he knew the political currents and he knew that they were shifting so they try to accomplish it as much as he could in a few short years. he helped reengineer and reimagine the city in the course of three years which is rather incredible because to do that which formally in a previous years had been affected at all which quite impressive.
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unfortunately shepard was a bit as it of a rogue as well and some the other things he did forget the city government in debt to the tune of $20 million. he had a problem creating some streets and left some houses towering 10 or 20 feet above the roads. he improved certain parts of the city like the part we stand in today the pond circle and other surrounding neighbors while ignoring other parts like capitol hill which continue continued to decline in poverty. he also awarded and credible patronage contracts to his friends and associates. you can see certain buildings like now are the eisenhower office building at the white house which was a bit of a financial boondoggle for those who cared to have friendly contracts with shepard's people. so he was a complicated figure but an essential one in
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washington history and i think the city is better off for him because at the end of his tenure what happened was the city finally collapsed under the weight of some of the corruption and in 1874 the short-lived experiment ended and it reverted to the district of columbia. and people were trying to figure out what to do next with its over the next four years congress wondered what would be the appropriate plan for the national capital. it was on its way to improvement and in some cases the shepard's recreations of the city had to be fixed like the wooden pavers on pennsylvania avenue had to be fixed on things like that but it was a generally good start all at up with other government bodies. ultimately by 1878 people had or the government, the federal government had to figure out how to permanently install a new regime and what it did is
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controversial still to this day. it's essentially completely disenfranchise the population. now people couldn't even vote for their local leaders, not mayor, not city council in the city would be subject to the will of three city commissioners commissioners. two appointed one by each major party and the other from the corps of engineers. this triumvirate of people ruled the city until the 1960s. nearly a century of rule that was started by the dash of 1878. still controversial in part not only for the disenfranchisement forced but specifically the racial component of the disenfranchisement. people knew african-americans were increasingly part of the voting base at the time and congress openly debated it. this first city to get african-americans the right to vote should also be the first to take it away. it was hugely controversial at
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the time as you can imagine along with the disenfranchisement of the population in general and later for various reasons. the local home rule they called it had to be restored and it did happen ultimately. the first mayor of the district walter washington was elected in 1974. so it was a dramatic change but at the time the organic act of 1878 created the template for what was to become washington city and they were negative aspects of it. a more positive aspects were simply that the city finally started becoming what pierre l'enfant intended from the beginning and it was verified layer on to the monem creation of the memorials and monuments in the final inevitable creation of washington monument in 1884. and if you stand on the washington monument today overlooking to the west what you
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see is not water it's not mud flats and marshes that someone in the 1820s would have seemed it's not breeding grounds for malaria and yellow fever. instead what you see is a creation of the gilded age the post-alexander shepard age of modern washington d.c. and as you look out you see the memorials of the soldiers who fought in four wars in memorials to president abraham lincoln and dr. martin luther king jr.. it's impressive how far washington city has come to the degree that washington city is a nameless forgotten by history as a city that was abolished in 1871 and became washington d.c. or more specifically according to love the district of columbia trade we can all take part in that and that is why i'm glad to be in the district of columbia today to visit with you. thank you so much. [applause]
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>> if there are questions we would love to take them. as raise your hand and give a shout. >> i a vice been confused from washington city to washington d.c. and wide district of columbia? >> the name would refer back to columbus. the european discovered the new world whatever you want to call it and it was a popular name. the columbia river where i'm from is also called that and the district of columbia does happen to be the name. since the name was created from the beginning washington city as a specific component is a unique governmental entity that exists until 1871. there is no washington city and in fact there is no washington law. some going to washington d.c. but it's really the district of columbia and the last mayor of washington city adopted in 1870
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and they're what hasn't been one since. the first mayor of the district of columbia walter washington to power 100 years later. [inaudible] >> that's interesting. i would have to say because there are so many just so many adjusting things i discovered the truly eye-opening aspect of the town was not that they gone on for another hour of the canals because i think they're fascinated with the idea that so much of the hopes of the early city were pinned on these channels that these cost huge amounts of money in this yearly -- city nearly went bankrupt to foreign creditors because of this canal. that's completely eye-opening and i think one of the things that this book brings to light is that moore has not been covered adequately in washington history books.
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>> one more quick question. your major thesis here is that without having law and order basically and without any crime and violence they were able to sort of take over the city so i was wondering like now that you have looked at the book and you know about home rule and everything like that do you have have -- does it give you pause to some of the modern ways in which the city runs? there is a mayor now but right now there is the issue that the congress is saying we are going to take that away. >> marijuana legalization? >> yeah marijuana legalization. so an understanding that history does that give you some sort of ideas about what you think?
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>> definitely pretty think responsive government would be ideal. democratic rule and after 1878 and before 1878 there wasn't any democracy at all. it's not surprisingly crime is unchecked and other social maladies occurred and i think to have a completely functional city today you would have to allow everyone to vote. they're all kinds of themes for which they can be executed but unfortunately due to the mechanical fact that the republican party would be lacking the democratic would get two more senators for political reasons. they're also constitutional reasons, deeply constitutional constitutional reasons that results result in people being disenfranchised here. but in terms of the mechanics the most populated parts going back to maryland and leaving the federal building in areas where people don't live. that's what happened in different parts of virginia
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there were formerly part of the district. >> what world does -- play after the civil war when you have the railroads and other businesses depending on the federal government. >> lobbing is huge because at that time the federal government is growing to the massive size that we know today. before the civil war the government's powers were limited and after the civil war they accrue with greater power. lobbyists which represent a lot of interest but particularly pine in broward interest of the time were well represented in other congressional favorites. some of them are actually right around dupont circle. the mention of james blaine presidential candidate candidate in the 1880s unsuccessful which was unusual that the time was one of the great -- it was not diamond jim but something like that, one of the great figures who is responsive to
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patronage and lobbing. i would say during the gilded age lobbying took off. you can look at that in terms of some of the writings of mark twain in which he talks about how much an individual cause for a different senator or representative and he listed his book the gilded age. >> we were talking a little bit about what your next his book is going to be about los angeles and other city and be afraid and guides and things. i was wondering where your interest comes for cities and if you think there is a quality that you find in particular? >> i particular? >> i was in terms the next but it may be about los angeles or in maybe washington d.c. again perhaps. i don't know this book needs a sequel but the interest of the next book more or less depends upon where your mind goes. it's one of the things that it's better not to think about it too much that you find yourself
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continually going back to a theme or something that interests you it's best to follow it. i mean this book in a way chose me rather than vice versa simply because of all the research that i found in things i was able to uncover. why not write a book about it? that had particular that as well. >> any more questions? thank you so much. >> thank you. [applause] >> thank you everybody so much for coming. if you could hold up your chair and come up and say hello and get a book signed. thank you. [inaudible conversations]
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next from a conference on the 50th anniversary of the publication of james burnham's "suicide of the west" a panel discussion of liberalism at home and the challenges to western survival. this is a little over an hour. >> my name is carolyn hanson and i'm the speaker's director program creates a great pleasure that i'm here to introduce a distinguished patron of liberal arts and western civilization. professor noel valis. she is a professor of spanish and portuguese. okay no longer portuguese. [laughter] she was a recipient of the guggenheim fellowship and also a national endowment for the humanities fellowship. she is written on sacred realism, spanish civil
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